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Famous People who were Olympians

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I thought that I would start a thread about people who became famous for their work outside of being an Olympian.

My first submission is General George Patton - WWII


He participated in the Stockholm 1912 Olympics for modern pentathlon.

What other famous people were Olympians?

Edited by Soaring
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Johnny Weissmuller, 5 time Olympic Gold medalist and the most famous Tarzan (appear in 12 films)

Buster Crabbe, Olympic champion and movie star in the 30's and 40's.

Pal Schmitt, two-time Gold medalist, and current president of Hungary.

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I think I mentioned in an "olympians in politics" thread earlier this year, that in Oz, Marjorie Jackson and John Landy both went on to become State governors in Oz, while Ron Clarke and Dawn Fraser both went into politics.

Sonja Henie went from skating superstar to Hollywood aspiring star (not sure if I'd call her a screen legend).


Bruce Jenner won gold at Montreal, appeared with the Village People in Can't Stop the Music and is now entabgled with the Kardashians.


And, of course, Nicki Webster found fame at the Sydney 2000 opening, and has since soared to become a mens mag pin-up model and a Dancing With The Stars contestant.


I hear Seb Coe went on to become an events organiser.

Edited by Sir Rols
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Jaques Rogge :P LOL, he wasnt really succesful as a sportsman, but he is now the most important in sports now.

This does not have to do with sports... The gorgeos miss venezuela who became miss world was studing to be a nun :o that's shocking...

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Jaques Rogge :P LOL, he wasnt really succesful as a sportsman, but he is now the most important in sports now.

Avery Brundage was an athlete in 1912 as well. Actually, anybody else know if any other IOC presidents started of as Olympian athletes?

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On the lower luminary scale:

Dr. Benjamin Spock was an O.;

Little known but fascinating fact: Alfred Carlton Gilbert was in the first ever gold medal tie in the Olympics -- in pole vault with fellow Yank Edward Cook at London 1908. Gilbert went on to invent the Erector set toy. By winning in 1908, he continued the longest-held gold medal record by one country in one sport in the Olympics.

From 1896 to 1968, US male pole vaulters brought home the gold...and in many cases, gold AND silver, until the controversial Munich 1972* when the Federation changed the rules for the kind of permissible Poles to be used--and all on a complaint by that old evil empire, East Germany. Long and short of it, after a lot of back and forth, etc., but all really suspicious, an East German broke the 72-year record of the US in this sport, but silver and bronze were won by 2 U.S. men who, were it not for the shenanigans instigated by the East Germans, would probably have taken home the gold and silver, and extending that record streak for another 4 years to 76 years. Starting with the Moscow boycott, U.S. men did not win the pole-vault again until Sydney 2000 when the US took gold and silver again.

Strange note: A Frenchman, Pierre Quinon, denied Mike Tully and Earl Bell the gold and silver on home soil in 1984. (Tully and Bell had to settle for silver and bronze.) However, just this past August, M. Quinon committed suicide. Was he feeling guilty that he denied 2 Americans what should have been theirs in 1984? I sure hope he was!! B)

*There are were just TOO MANY things wrong with Munich 1972, the killings, the cheating of the US teams in basketball and pole-vaulting for the city to be a worthy candidate for Winter 2022.

(Am too lazy rite now to delve into my records.)

And of course, Tonya Harding...bad-ass b*tch!!

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Actually, talking about Munich, didn't Mark Spitz have a short lived acting career in some 70s cop show?

I know Jenner did. Spitz may have guested in a couple of shows but he concentrated on his dentistry career and just indulged in celebrity spotlight when I think it made him some extra $$.

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This is not going to be another discution on why Munich is not good, in fact it is PAST. :P

Baloney, deawebo. I'll bring it up when I feel like it and when it's relevant. :P

Eric Liddell, who i guess is famous for inspiring the film Chariots of Fire

Is it because he's a Scot? ;)

Yeah, sort of. Altho the film is a lie because he and the GB team knew MONTHS in advance that that competition was going to be held on a Sunday. The screenwriter just used his 'artistic license' to create some drama. But for the most part, the whole conflict was manufactured.

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Here's a list I found googling:

Top Olympic Personalities

Here are Olympians that have achieved fame in other field.

* George Patton, who would later become a famous U.S. general, competed in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics pentathlon, an event combining pistol shooting, swimming, fencing, cross country and steeplechase. Patton performed poorly in his best event, pistols, but shined in fencing, defeating the French army champion. 'Old Blood and Guts' finished fifth overall, the only non-Swede to make the top seven.

* Philip Noel-Baker 1920 Antwerp won silver in the 1500m, and later went on to become an English MP. In 1959, he became the only Olympian to ever be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

* Harold Abrahams in the 100 meters and Eric Liddell in the 400 1924 Paris: Chariots of Fire.

* Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) - 1924 Paris: 100m and 400m also the relay. Then he went on to play Tarzan and make that haunting call.

On a stormy day in July 1927, Johnny Weissmuller was training on the lakefront off Chicago's North Avenue Beach with his brother Peter when a sudden storm swamped the pleasure boat Favorite. The disaster killed 27 of the 71 people aboard, mostly women and children, but the Weissmuller brothers rescued 11 people. He can really be considered a hero as well as a legend.

* Lord Burghley won the 400m Hurdles - Amsterdam 1928.

* Crown Prince (later King Olav) won a gold medal in yachting - Amsterdam 1928.

* Australian rower Henry Pearce. Midway through his quarterfinal race, he stopped rowing to allow a family of ducks to pass single file in front of his boat. Pearce won the race anyway and, later, the gold medal as well.

* Buster Crabbe, the great American swimmer who was to go on to make a name in Hollywood as Tarzan, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Won the gold medal in 400m freestyle swimming at Los Angeles 1932.

* Chris Brasher (Great Britain) 3000 Metre steeplechase winner 1956 Melbourne.

* Mohamed Ali 1960 Rome - Won light-heavyweight gold medal. Let the flame in Atlanta 1996.

* Princess Anne 1976 - No she did not win a medal, but she did say: 'The horse is about the only person who does not know you are Royal'.

* Lord Sebastian Coe 1980 won 1,500m gold medal. Former British MP. Head of the London bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics.

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Nadia Comeneci....became Mrs. Bart Connor. :lol:

Olga Korbut lived in the US Georgia for awhile in 1990s. (ACOG ignored her at that time.) She was having addiction problems then and was also picked up once for shoplifting. Apparently, she's pulled herself together and now lives and coaches in Scottsdale, Arizona. Why, she even has her own website :blink:http://olgakorbut.com/today.htm

Greg Louganis - became a poster boy for AIDs and premature white hair (I think all that chlorine from the pool).

Well, the Winklevii twins started to be famous before competing in Beijing. They are Facebook Mark Zuckerberg's nemesis. And they are trying to make the London team as well!! There's an article on them in the current VANITY FAIR magazine.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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If we bring up the Winkelvos near miss (so far)', actress Geena Davis almost made the US team for archery in Sydney.

In July 1999, Davis was one of 300 women[2] who vied for a semifinals berth in the US Olympic archery team to participate in the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics.[6] She placed 24th of 300 and did not qualify for the team, but participated as a wild-card entry in the Sydney International Golden Arrow competition.


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I guess we could list thousands of Olympians who stayed famous after or even due to the Games. Katarina Witt for example -- but whose fame is still strongly connected to the world of sports.

I think it's much more interesting which Olympians have become something completely different than a "sports person" in their later years. Then I have two examples from Germany:

The first one is Gunther Tiersch. At an age of 14, he was the coxswain in the West German coxed eights rowing team which won the gold medal in Mexico City in 1968. Four years later, he had the honour of hoisting and lowering the Olympic Flag in Munich's opening and closing ceremonies together with his teammates. Nowadays he's a well-known meteorologist who regularly presents the weather forecast on ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, "Second German Television").

The second one is Heidi Schüller. She took the Olympic Oath on behalf of the athletes in Munich in 1972 and was a track and field athlete back then. Later she became a doctor and a book author, presented talk shows on TV and was a member of the Social Democratic Party's shadow cabinet for the 1994 parliamentary election in Germany, as shadow health secretary.

Oh, and I should not forget Eberhard Gienger, a German gymnast who won the Olympic bronze medal on the horizontal bar in 1976. He continued to present gymnastic TV shows after his retirement as athlete, but is now a member of the German parliament for the Christian Democratic Union.

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This would be a really nice one to add to the list...

As motorsport continues to come to terms with the death of Dan Wheldon in an Indycar accident a few weeks ago, this weekend there was a heart warming story of a driver who himself was once caught up in an accident on an oval, lost his legs as a result, but has found a new outlet for his competitive drive.

Former Lotus, Jordan and Williams driver Alessandro Zanardi won Sunday’s New York City Marathon’s handcycle division yesterday with a time of 1 hour, 13 minutes and 58 seconds.

Zanardi lost his legs in an accident in 2001 and since then returned to racing with the World Touring Car championship. He started racing in marathons in 2007 and finished fourth on his first attempt in New York two years ago. He won the 2009 Venice Marathon and 2010 Rome Marathon.

Zanardi is hoping to compete in the London 2012 Paralympics representing Italy and to do that needs to accumulate enough points from events like the New York Marathon, in order to be invited to compete in London. It appears he’s well on his way to achieving his goal.


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A famous Thai singer Vanessa...? wants to qualify to compete at the 2014 Olympics.

:blink: Maybe famous in Thailand...but they don't even play her music at my local Thai restaurant..so how famous could she be? Besides, they don't have "singing" as a competition in the WOGs, YOGs or SOGs. :rolleyes:

SHe should try the Jeux de la Francophonie -- they still have those 'artsy' competitions there.

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A famous Thai singer Vanessa...? wants to qualify to compete at the 2014 Olympics.

Vanessa Mae is actually British. Yep, I heard about her skiing ambitions. Good luck to her. If her skiing was anywhere near as good as her violin playing, she'd win the Olympics. Will be difficult though.

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